The Hay River Centennial Library launched its annual Christmas Book Appeal fundraiser on Oct. 29 in hopes of keeping the community well read with latest literary works.

Head librarian Christine Gyapay was on hand with Bob Kelly, Hay River Library committee member to receive the first donations from Ring’s Pharmacy and the Northwest Territories Power Corporation.

“These are all new books that we aim to be buying,” Gyapay said.

“You have to be current and there are authors, especially for fiction that publish yearly. In other areas of the collection like health or well-being, you need to keep up to date and relevant.”

While the campaign is promoted around the Christmas time theme, it actually stretches between October and February.

Gyapay said the fundraiser has been taking place for 20-plus years and makes a big difference in the library’s stock with last year having $7,000 raised.

“And that is a lot. If you think of an average hardcover book, 30 to 35 a book that adds quite a bit to the collection,” she said. “We have a high readership and every book we add to the collection increases what the patrons have access to. So it makes a huge difference.”

Kelly said that the management of the library and ensuring new books are acquired and shelved is a key part of maintaining a high interest in the institution.

“What I’ve been impressed by is that for a small town, with a relatively small library, it has a very impressive collection of books and other materials,” he said. “That is credit to Christine and her capable staff.”

Gyapay couldn’t say specifically how high the circulation was, but pointed out that the demand has been very strong in recent months, especially during the pandemic.

“Before we shut down the circulation stats were huge with hundreds of books taken out every month,” she said.

During the Covid pandemic, Gyapay had been, and continues, providing book deliveries to people in the community with a pick-up service centre at the library.

The other benefit the library has noticed is use by parents and students when school is closed.

“I know parents are very appreciative, especially during the times when schools are closed, that they can use the program and ensure their kids are dedicated and educated,” Kelly said. “So the library is not just there to keep the kids out of their hair.”

People interested in providing funds for the library’s campaign for new books can contact the library for a donation slip, either through its Facebook page or by calling 874-6484.

The library will accept e-transfers through the library committee’s email at People can also make a cheque or cash or pay by credit card through the donation slip

Every $20 that is donated will be recognized with a name of the donor placed on a label in one of the books.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa.. Simon can be reached at (867)...

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